California's Top 10 Best Beaches for Bonfires (Slideshow)

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#10 Dockweiler Beach — Los Angeles

For out-of-towners, a bonfire at Dockweiler Beach is just a 15-minute walk from the Los Angeles airport. Due to its proximity to the airport, the beach is not the quietest beach for a bonfire as the loud roar of planes are heard flying overhead every couple of minutes. But after a few hours, you won’t notice it at all.

#9 Grover Beach — San Luis Obispo

Not your typical California beach, Grover Beach allows visitors to drive their cars on the sand right up next to a bonfire spot if they like. Locals can be seen horseback riding on the beach, skating at the beachside skate park, or just meandering through the sand dunes.


#8 Doheny Beach — Dana Point

At Doheny Beach — which stretches a little over a mile — in Dana Point, bonfires come with a view of local divers and fishermen who hang out at the nearby rock jetty.

#7 Glorietta Bay Beach (Coronado) — San Diego

Kings, queens, and movie stars have walked the sands of Glorietta Bay Beach, a lesser-known beach off of Coronado Island that overlooks Glorietta Bay and boasts a view of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in the distance. The beach is protected from strong winds, allowing for ideal conditions for bonfires.

#6 Corona Del Mar Beach — Newport Beach

You may have seen Corona Del Mar Beach on the famous TV show Gilligan’s Island. Tucked away at the bottom of a cliff, it’s also a favorite spot for bonfires with a few rows of fire pits lined nearby a locally-beloved rock formation known as “Pirate’s Cove.”

#5 Newport Beach

Newport Beach’s fire pits are steps away from the Balboa Pier at Balboa Peninsula, home to the city’s iconic boardwalk. Locals know to get to the beach early to claim pits, as they’re limited and are taken quickly.

#4 Carmel Beach — Carmel

Cobbled sidewalks, quaint cottages, and a stunning view — Carmel Beach — known to be one the world’s most romantic places — is the spot for couples who want to cuddle up next to a beach fire, look for sea otters and dolphins that make regular appearances, or explore nearby tide pools and kelp forests. Bonfires are allowed in a designated area south of 10th Avenue.

#3 Ocean Beach — San Diego

Spanning only a mile, Ocean Beach in San Diego is a small beach where dogs are welcome and (responsible) drinking is allowed. Bonfires are limited to the beach area between Lincoln Way and Fulton Street, but Ocean Beach pier isn’t far away.

#2 Huntington Beach

Locals stake out their territory as early as 10 a.m. to claim one of Huntington Beach’s hundreds of fire pits that line the sand for miles. The favored spots are next to the beach’s iconic pier, a surfing landmark where every year beachgoers and surfers gather to watch the U.S. Open of Surfing.

#1 Mission Beach — San Diego

Famously known as the home of Belmont Park — America’s only beachside amusement park — Mission Beach, stretching nine miles, is the number one beach for a summer bonfire in California. Fire pits are a short walk away from the beach’s three-mile boardwalk.